Highly efficient monolithic class E SiGe power amplifier design at 900 and 2400 MHz

Donald Y.C. Lie, Jerry Lopez, Jeremy D. Popp, Jason F. Rowland, Guogong Wang, Guoxuan Qin, Zhenqiang Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This paper discusses the impact of transistor performance and operating frequency on the design of monolithic highly efficient RF SiGe power amplifiers (PAs) using on-chip lump-element passives and/or bondwires to approximate the class E switching conditions. Single-stage SiGe PAs were designed and fabricated using both high-breakdown and high-fT devices targeting for the highest power-added-efficiency (PAE). The PAs designed using high-breakdown devices with on-chip tank inductors exhibit similar gain and PAE as those of high-fT devices, but capable of withstanding significantly higher supply voltages and deliver larger output power (> 23 dBm) more reliably. PAE of 68% (900 MHz) and 40% (2.4 GHz) was achieved from these highly integrated suboptimal PAs without using any off-chip matching. The degraded PAE at 2.4 GHz versus 900 MHz is shown to be caused by increased effective ground inductance parasitics, higher loss from both low-Q on-chip tank inductor and increased SiGe device switching loss with reduced power gain. Design insights on how to improve PAE of SiGe PAs at higher RF frequencies are discussed, as we increased the measured PAE of the class E PAs to an impressive 62-65% range at 2.3-2.4 GHz, which is among the best reported in the literature for Si-based monolithic PAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1455-1466
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I: Regular Papers
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2009


  • Breakdown voltage
  • Class E
  • High efficiency
  • Power amplifier (PA)
  • SiGe heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT)
  • Swith-mode PA
  • System-on-a-ship (SoC)
  • Wideband
  • Wireless sensor


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